Effects of Increased Electronic Screen Exposure and Its Relation with Autistic Spectrum Symptoms (ASD) – A Cross Sectional Study in Peshawar
Background: Increased exposure to Light Emitting Diode (LED) screen or virtual media can affect the brain development process in children below 6 years of age. The symptoms after prolonged exposure are similar to Autism or Autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
Objective: To determine the effects of increased electronic screen usage on speech, behavioural and cognitive development in ASD children.
Study type, settings & duration: This cross-sectional study was conducted at Speech Therapy units of Rehman Medical Institute, Northwest Hospital & Combined Military Hospital and Autistic Jewel Centre in Peshawar from June to October 2020.
Methodology: A total of 100 children of age 1- 6 years were surveyed with the help of a questionnaire based on DSM-5 handbook and ASD assessment screening criteria through convenient sampling technique. Children who had speech delay, irritability and hyperactive behaviour were included in the study whereas children with diagnosed genetic developmental defects were excluded from the study. Data was analysed for descriptive analysis on SPSS version 24. The Chi square test was used to compare frequencies keeping p ≤0.05 as significant.
Results: Children exposed to virtual media for more than 2 hours/day showed more significant issues with speech/communication (p=0.00018), social interaction (p =0.01), emotional responsiveness (p =0.01), behavioural pattern (p =0.0038), sensory (p =0.003) & motor aspects (p =0.01) and cognitive components (p =0.007) of child development as compared to children less than 2 hours/day of screen exposure.
Conclusion: The excessive electronic screen utilization relates to autistic symptoms. Longer screen time increases the chances of .........
(1) Department of Community Health Science, Rehman Medical College, Peshawar.
(2) Rehman Medical College, Peshawar.
(3) Rehman Medical College, Peshawar.
(4) Rehman Medical College, Peshawar.
(5) Rehman Medical Institute, Peshawar.
(6) Rehman Medical College, Peshawar.
(*) Corresponding Author